Stephen Starr to debut NYC sibling to Philly’s El Vez

Flashy cantina El Vez will serve Mexican plates and agave cocktails in the Financial District

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    EL VEZ interior

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    EL VEZ interior

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    EL VEZ interior

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    EL VEZ chile en nogada

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    EL VEZ chicken enchiladas

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    EL VEZ shrimp and passion fruit ceviche

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

EL VEZ interior


Stephen Starr knows a thing or two about importing a successful Philadelphia restaurant to New York City—he's done it twice before, first with Morimoto and then again with Buddakan. Now the industry titan adds a splashy Mexican crowd-pleaser to his list of transplants, expected to open April 30. Inspired by roadside cantinas, the 160-seat dining room is kitted out with circular banquettes, a photo booth and a grab-and-go burrito stand.

Carrying over Philly's El Vez chef David LaForce to the FiDi kitchen, the menu includes South of the Border specialties like shrimp-and-passion-fruit ceviche, chile en nogada (beef-and-almond-stuffed poblano peppers with walnut sauce) and mole three ways: negro with lamb, poblano with chicken and pipian-rojo with pork. Drinks spotlight agave spirits that range from the familiar (mescal, tequila) to the more exotic (moonshine-like raicilla).

The restaurant is just one of the projects Starr plans to add to his growing New York portfolio this year: The native Philadelphian is in talks for a carne-centric spot on the Bowery with Joe Carroll (St. Anselm), who Starr previously collaborated with on a City of Brotherly Love outpost of Brooklyn 'cue joint Fette Sau.

259 Vesey St at North End Ave (212-233-2500)


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